Posts Tagged 'Brooklyn'

Can’t Get Enough Kestrel?

Falco sparveriusA week after spotting an American Kestrel male perching in Green-Wood I found another not so very far away. Or is this the very same bird? Mayhaps: they don’t have huge territories Falco sparveriusCheck out the bird’s under and over grip on the tippy-top of the tree. And those false eye-spots on the back of the head! I don’t suppose you could ask for a better illustration of what optical enhancement — binoculars or telephoto, as the case here — can do for your bird-watching enjoyment.


Pyrrhalta viburniTwo of the gardeners at Brooklyn Bridge Park showed me the evidence of Viburnum Leaf Beetle that they were hunting down. The pits in the twig are egg cavities, dug into the tree by the mature beetle. The tiny larvae can just be seen.

The destructive invasive beetle is rampant through most city parks, but is so far kept at bay in BBP, which has multiple species of viburnum growing. Here’s what the damage looks like when it runs wild.


Accipiter cooperiiA Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) in Green-Wood on Saturday. Accipiter cooperiiThis is an immature bird. An adult will have a russet-tinted breast and red eyes instead of yellow. Accipiter cooperiiFrom the back, against the light. Note that long tail, a characteristic of the Accipiters. Accipiter cooperiiWhile perched, the bird threw up this pellet. Once she — the bird seemed so large I think it was female — flew off after the usual business with screaming Blue Jays, I scanned the ground below her. Owls are famous for their pellets — I have some in my freezer, long story — but all raptors and some other birds, like gulls, spit them up; they’re just not as famous, substantial, or long-lasting as owl pellets.


Sitta carolinensisA White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis). This bird had just lived up its name: wedging a seed into the bark of this tree, the bird hammered the seed with its chisel bill. Liquidambar styracifluaSweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) showing itself capable of standing up to this fall’s magnificent colors.Myiopsitta monachusMonk Parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus), excellent raptor food.Acer palmatumAnother colorful exotic, Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum). No filter, as the kids like to say. (On my Instagram, you can compare the colors of three side-by-side J-maples in Green-Wood.)


Falco sparveriusThis male Kestrel (Falco sparverius) made two fruitless passes at the noisy scrum of Monk Parakeets at the Green-Wood gate. The parakeets are a little longer in body-length but have shorter wingspan than these small falcons, so I wonder if they ever succumb to attack. Certainly the parakeets provide food for raptors; I’ve found their scattered feathers under nearby trees. The Merlin I posted about on Monday was in the same area just a few minutes after I saw this bird fire off into the distance.Falco sparveriusThis one was rather higher up than the Merlin, but these shots are still fair-to-middling. Such an interesting pattern (the blue wings tell us it’s a male) compared to other hawks, even it’s genus-siblings the Merlin, Peregrine, and Gyrfalcon. Of course, never mind those other raptors: DNA shows that the falcons, family Falconidae, are related to…parrots. I still automatically go to the hawks when I want to check the falcons in the new Sibley, but he’s properly moved them.

Still Hanging On

In early November, I found four adult Two-spotted Ladybeetles (Adalia bipunctata). Adalia bipunctataAnd without looking very hard. I just stood under the tree and looked up.Adalia bipunctata

White Oak

Quercus albaThe pale underside of some Eastern White Oak (Quercus alba) leaves found on Mt. Taurus.Quercus albaThis is another specimen of the tree, two weeks later, in Green-Wood. It’s been a spectacular fall. Q albaSame tree, with some Hedgehog Galls. I also explore these fuzzy galls a little more here.


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  • Because a curated, locally-sourced (well, @foodcoop) artisanal batch of chocolate chip coconut almond cookies goes w/ a biography of Che. 29 minutes ago
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